I have created a new LAYLON (now "L.") website, which can be accessed here. I will no longer post content at this link. The photo on the left is a shot from my new site's first story. Excited about my new site! Check it out. Cheers, Mary
I'm on a roll with mixing up my fitness routine right now, and I have never felt better. Indoor rock climbing is the newest activity I have incorporated into mix. So much fun! I gave it a go for the first time around Thanksgiving with Sarah Ambrose at First Avenue Rocks. She is a rockstar instructor! She gave me a great overview of indoor climbing and worked with me on technique and strategy.
Bouldering is the technical term for what I'm doing in these photos: climbing shorter walls without a harness. I quickly discovered that taking a moment to map out your route is important, especially as a first timer. When you hop on the wall without a plan, you may fatigue your muscles trying to decide which hold to grab next, and not get very far up the wall. Each hold on the wall is marked with a colored piece of tape, designating various paths up the wall, with varying degrees of difficulty. The goal is to choose a color and follow those holds up the wall. The flat walls are the easiest. The angled walls are tougher - excellent for your core. It is such an exciting feeling to make it to the top of the wall for the first time. Felt like a kid! What I like about climbing is that it's fun and challenging, and you don't actually realize you're working out. If you're bored at the gym, I recommend giving this a try. I've kept up climbing for about a month now, and I can tell a noticeable difference in my arms and abs - definitely more toned. You will definitely be sore after climbing for the first time because you're working muscles that you don't normally use. Also, a tip for fashionistas - shorter nails are ideal for climbing. Mine were too long in these photos. Breaking a nail is not what you want to be thinking about.
My talented photographer friend Andrea Mabry, who happens to be an experienced climber, took these gorgeous photos. She climbed up the wall with her camera and captured some amazing angles! I love the drama in these images. She has been working in New Orleans and is moving her home base to Birmingham this winter. Yay! We're planning to do some outdoor climbing when she gets here. Check out her new website here. In case you're wondering, my sick leggings are by Alo Yoga. LOVE this line of active wear.
Several of you have asked for another makeup tutorial, so I thought I'd share what I do to get a natural glow. The focus here will be on applying blush and highlighter. Too often, I see people who have overdosed on blush and don't know where to apply it. Blush is not supposed to look obvious. Another common thing I see is having an overall ultra-matte powder look. Strategically placed highlighter, along with the proper blush application, will keep you from looking older than you are. The steps I've listed below to achieve a natural flush are really simple! I enlisted my gorgeous friend Sheena to be my model. We're wearing two of my newest necklaces from Shals, my trusted and go-to boutique for affordable jewelry. Both of these styles are around $25 - amazing, right? The adorable studs Sheena is wearing are also Shals.
Tap your blush brush into a pigmented blush formula like Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush, which is one of my favorites. I'm using Peach Passion here, which flatters most light to tan skintones. I'm using a Chanel blush brush.
Smile and swirl blush onto the outer apple of the cheek, sweeping ever so slightly upward and outward, but not all the way to the ear. To me, blush applied underneath the cheekbones just looks weird. Stick to the apples for the most natural look.
Choose a powder or liquid highlighter with a pearly pink sheen. Cooler skintones should opt for cool shades of pink, while warmer skintones should choose a warmer pink with more gold in it. I'm using NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator here on Sheena. The amount on my index finger below is all you will need for both sides of your face.
Starting at your temple, dot the formula downward, following the curve of your cheekbone, stopping right on the outer apple of your cheek. Lightly rub in with your finger. Avoid the skin next to the eye so that you don't inadvertently highlight crow's feet.
See the natural glow? This is my little trick for not looking overly-powdered, which looks old.
To keep a natural overall look, I finished with Kismet Cosmetics lipstick in Hey Baby! This shade flatters everyone. It also blends really nicely with the other Kimset lip shades, all of which I own. Awesome lipstick that stays put. Message me with your order inquiries!
I often mix Hey Baby! with Vivianna, a gorgeous rich berry shade, which is beautiful for winter. I blended a little on Sheena to show you how good they look together. In these photos, I'm wearing Vivianna on it's own.
Isn't she gorgeous? A big thank you to Birmingham based photographer Mary Catherine Fehr for taking these lovely photos!
I recently went on a little outdoors adventure with my friend Ty Harris to Little River Canyon Preserve. Absolutely beautiful. For those of you non-Alabamians, it's located in the northeastern part of the state, near Ft. Payne. The 45 ft. waterfall is arresting. Ty captured these gorgeous images (you'll definitely want to follow him on Instagram here - he's got mad talent). We had a blast on this excursion. Ty is a true adventurer, so I was excited to explore with him. His travels across the globe have even led him to Antarctica! We set out before dawn and saw the most stunning sunrise when we arrived to the park. Glorious golden light spilling out and drenching everything around us - a sight that would surely make a morning person out of the most reluctant riser. I need to see more of this. It was Ty's idea to leave early so we could catch the sunrise. I'm so glad we did. It was so beautiful, we forgot how cold we were. The best, most exhilarating moment of the trip was scooting onto the edge of a rock right at the top of the falls. Ty did as well. Probably not the safest decision but worth it : ) Ty and I hope, through these photos, that you're inspired to go do something outside. I know I can't wait to do it again.
Since finally getting to ditch my Claire's studs several months ago, I have had so much fun wearing big girl earrings. (Yes, this year was the first in my life to get my ears pierced). I love big dangly earrings. I feel like I can get away with messy piled up hair as long as I have on striking earrings. The gold pair I'm wearing here arrived as part of my most recent Sunset45 little luxuries box. Sunset 45 is a monthly jewelry and accessories subscription service that offers Classic and Lavish themed boxes, depending on your personality/preference. November's box is one of the best yet - along with some lovely Byzantine influenced jewelry, my absolute fave lipstick - Kismet Cosmetics - was included. Here I am wearing Kismet's Burnout, which is the most perfect red ever. Isn't it gorge? I sell Kismet, so please reach out to me with your questions/inquiries. Each tube of lipstick is $16. Something else you'll want to know about Sunset45... you can now pick out and shop jewelry and accessories individually. The little luxuries boxes are so fun though and just $30 per month. Birmingham based photographer Juan Rodriguez shot these beautiful images. <3 Absolutely love! Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!